One thing the Los Angeles Dodgers have prided themselves on in recent years is pitching depth, and that was again the case in 2020 with Dennis Santana among those valuable pieces.
Santana has been one of the top prospects in the Dodgers organization for a few years now but has been limited to just a handful of innings at the Major League level due to injuries.
The 24-year-old put himself on the Dodgers’ radar in 2020 with a strong Spring Training that led to manager Dave Roberts calling him one of the team’s standouts. Santana followed that up with a solid Summer Camp to earn himself a spot on the Opening Day roster as a reliever.
While Santana could still project as a starter long-term, he gave the Dodgers quality innings out of the bullpen this year while bouncing back and forth between the big league roster and alternate training site at USC.
In 12 appearances, Santana went 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA, 5.72 FIP and 1.29 WHIP with 18 strikeouts and seven walks in 17 innings. He wound up being optioned for the final time in the middle of September when Pedro Baez was reinstated from the injured list and ultimately was left off the postseason roster altogether.
Santana’s second outing of the season was his most memorable as he entered in the 11th inning of a tie game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
He proceeded to toss 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out four and walking two without allowing a hit to keep the Astros off the scoreboard and eventually earning the win after the Dodgers finally broke through for two runs in the 13th inning.
What makes that outing by Santana so impressive is that due to the new MLB rule, all extra innings started with a runner on second base, so he was able to work out of three separate jams without allowing a run.
What Santana’s role with the Dodgers moving forward will remains to be seen, but the 2021 season could potentially be similar to this year for him, bouncing back and forth between the big league level and Minors.
There is no doubt that Santana has the stuff to be a full-time MLB pitcher, now it just comes down to him refining his command to limit the number of walks he issues.
The Dodgers have a ton of other pitching depth though, so Santana also could be a trade candidate this winter if another organization is high on him.
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